I loved this book by Kevin DeYoung, "Just do Something a Liberating Approach to finding God's Will." I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in finding the Lord's will in their life. I was able to find this book on Abebooks.com, which sells used or like new books at a discount.
Mr. DeYoung writes in a very easy to read encouraging style. His humor and humility lead us not to feel condemned for our wavering ways, rather they left me feeling encouraged and confident. I pray that many more people will pick up a copy of this book and put into action the principles it highlights. It is refreshing and freeing to know that we can make confident decisions without so much hyper-spiritualized mulling.
I can't say enough good things about this book, so I won't try! This is definitely one to add to your library.
Friday, April 30, 2010
You know the morning, the one where you have every intention of being graceful, calm, loving and purposeful. The morning when you expect your little ones to sweetly get up and give you a kiss and then be the picture of perfection. The morning when the sun shines and the day flows smoothly from one peaceful moment to the next. You know that morning right? Well that was suppose to be this morning and we were well on our way until I got out of bed and the cares of the world started to pummel me! I am so thankful that I have the words of my dear Lord to sustain me on days like this.
You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Nehemiah 9:17
God is so good to forgive me, to show me compassion, to not anger quickly with me and to love me. On days like these may I be the same to the little ladies in my care.
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
How thankful I am that if I pray and seek wisdom like hidden treasure the Lord will generously give it. By the Holy Spirits power I can be patient and overlook the offenses to my feelings. These little ones must see a momma who is patient even when they are bound up in sin!
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
My hope and strength must be from the Lord on mornings like these. In him I can be strong and renewed. I must not have my expectations set on the actions of children but rather have hope stayed on my strengthener, my protector, my Saviour.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Thank you Lord that you remind me of the great call you have on my life. On mornings like these I must remember what my purpose is and rise to the holy calling of mother!
I am so very thankful for the many verses that are alive in my heart to sustain me through the day. As this morning was not the picture of perfection it was an opportunity for my character to grow and for me to be steady and faithful with these children in my care. From one sinful, improving momma to another, stay in the word you'll need it on mornings like these!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
1 Timothy 6:6-10
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we will take nothing out of it. but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
The American dream would lead us to believe we deserve a certain standard of living. That we are all able to attain and have the same successes, and possessions. That we are truly equal in each realm of life. This is a nice Utopian idea. Where we can all live at the same standard. Where we can be immediately gratified, but like most idea's our society is selling, these ideas are fraught with lies.
The truth in America today is that there are very distinct classes in regards to monetary wealth. The current financial crisis we are pulling out of clearly supports this. People chose to borrow their way out of their financial class and are now facing the reality of spending above their means. Others, some of whom claim to know Jesus Christ as their saviour, continue to forsake reality and live in a class above their means and are heading straight for disaster and much heartache.
When we bless ourselves by spending money out of our means, we miss out on God blessing us. If we choose to put ourselves first, our lusts and desires, we have replaced the Lord's blessing over us with our own. This is a very dangerous place to be. We each must ask ourselves if we are idolizing ourselves and breaking the second commandment. Our culture readily condones and promotes the practice of getting whatever we want by whatever means. If it takes a little debt to get what we want, our culture says, "go for it! Everyone else is too!" Sacrifice and contentment have no place in this way of thinking. Being content would mean that we may have to settle and that would never do according to this world! What a harmful lie we believe when we allow ourselves to align our thinking with these messages. When we choose to live outside our means and the blessing God has given us we build a wall between God and ourselves. We lose freedom and create bonds to money lenders.
There is freedom in boundaries. We may not have our eyes tickled by entertainment as often as our desires would like. We may have to work harder to provide what we would rather pay others to do for us. But, we will learn what true contentment is and reap the rewards of our efforts. In Philippians 4:11b-13 Paul encourages us with these words, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
We, like Paul, will know something so much sweeter than worldly wealth and treasures. We will know the peace and contentment when we live with the treasures the Lord would will us to have.
Several years ago as a young stay at home mother I had my heart set on getting a high-end name brand purse. I had finally nagged my hard working husband enough and he agreed to let me get a knock-off one. As I was driving to the knock-off purse store I happened upon a christian radio program that was airing a discussion on class in America. It talked about how low income people will often choose to appear to live outside of their class in an effort to conceal the truth. The commentators mentioned how destructive the practice of eating steak on a hamburger budget was. I felt some of the deepest shame I had ever felt at that moment. I asked myself, "what business do you have carrying around some rich ladies purse? What are you trying to prove and to who?" I realized I had proven to God that I was greedy and unthankful; and to my husband that I was ungrateful, needy, and unable to please.
As Christians we must reject the temptation to follow the trends of the culture we live in. We must conform to God's ways and His will. In this we will be able to see the joy of the Lord's hand blessing us and freedom from the heavy burden of financial debt. Learning to be content and say no to ourselves is difficult but yields joy, peace and fruit. What a wonderful example of obedience we are when we find contentment. Each day we can choose to say, "some may, I may not" with joy! It can be done and will save us from much hardship.
Matthew 6:24 says, "no one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Who will we choose to serve each day? What will we choose to model to our children? How will we live out the grand character of the Proverbs 31 woman? Let us choose to rise to the standard that our Father has placed before us to glorify Him, leave room for His blessing, and secure peace for the future of our families and future generations. Let us choose to shake off the shackles of worldly lust and lies, and live in truth and freedom!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
This past couple of days I had the opportunity to go to MACHE's (MN Assoc. of Christian Home Educators) annual conference. This was my first year going and I was a little nervous that I would be overwhelmed. To my surprise and great pleasure I had a wonderful time. The teachings were amazing, encouraging and thought provoking, I learned so much from them. I was able to find many treasures and buy most of my curriculum without having to pay shipping. I went with my sister-in-law Deb, who is so wise and always an inspiration to spend time with. Wow, I am blessed homeschooling momma and woman! I wanted to highlight my top 10 finds and lessons.
- If we are experiencing personality conflicts with a certain child of ours this is a sign to us as parents that we need to spend more quality time together and grow closer.
- We need to teach our children that as Christians we should be setting out to change the culture around us, not join it.
- As home-school families we need to teach the children that our freedom to school, worship, to be in Christ and other freedoms all came at a price. We must remember those who went before us who made our freedoms possible and remind one another of the deep cost that was paid and is still being paid for us.
- Write notes to your children, to express love and encouragement.
- If there are irritations popping up in the day that frustrate you and get you off track, write them down. Sit and look at them later and come up with solutions to fix these problems. When we are out of the frustrating moment we can often see how to fix these irritations.
- Tell your children a lot of stories about their grandparents and great-grandparents. This fosters generational thinking and roots.
- Christmas morning find a way to give first before receiving. Maybe go to a nursing home, bring someone a meal, or serve at a shelter.
- Do room checks. Warn the children that you will be checking room cleanliness at some point during the week and rewarding a tidy room with a small treat.
- Have family missions projects. Set up a jar to put spare change in or think of ways to support a special family picked mission. Maybe find something to make and sell to support your mission or organization.
- Encourage siblings to verbally love one another and physically serve one another.
There are so many, many more points that I will take away from this week-end. These are just a few. I hope to remember these and put into action what the Lord has laid on my heart.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I have been praying that God would show me how I am being distracted from doing His work. One way I discovered was that I spend far too much time thinking about food. It is my comfort zone, easy and enjoyable to think about. However, I am convicted that I spend far too much time thinking on this earthly thing. So I decided to come up with a two-week meal plan. It should simplify life, grocery shopping and minimize the time I spend thinking on meal planning. With my husbands approval we are on week 1 of the plan and will keep it in place for a couple of months. Here it is:
Monday: B-Blueberry Oatmeal with Orange Juice
L-Tuna Sandwiches & Cut Up Veggies
D-Spaghetti & Salad (make a double batch of sauce for next weeks penne pasta)
Tuesday: B-Granola & Milk, Orange Juice
L-Eggs, Toast & Smoothie
D-Roast Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots
Wednesday: B-Yogurt w/ Blueberries and Granola & OJ
L-Chicken Quesodillas & Cut up Veggies
D-Nachos & Corn
Thursday: B-Eggs, Muffins & OJ
L-Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
D-Salmon fillet w/ Salad
Friday: B-Pumpkin Oatmeal & OJ
L-Almond Butter and Honey Sandwiches w/ cut up veggies
D-Pizza & Salad
Saturday: B-Pancakes, Sausage, Blueberries & OJ
L-Egg Salad Sandwiches & cut up veggies
D-tacos, re-fried beans & corn
Sunday: B-Eggs, toast & smoothie
L-turkey wraps, cut up veggies
D-fried rice & green beans
Monday: B-Pumpkin oatmeal & Oj
L-Tuna sandwiches and cut up veggies
D-chicken fajitas & peas
Tuesday: B-granola & milk, oj
L-eggs, toast & smoothie
D-chicken legs, potatoes & mixed veggies
Wednesday: B-blueberries, yogurt & granola, oj
L-quesodillas & cut up veggies
D-beef stir fry & brown rice
Thursday: B-eggs, muffins & oj
L-tomato soup & grilled cheese
D-roasted salmon, potatoes & green beans
Friday: B-blueberry oatmeal & oj
L-almond butter & honey sandwiches, cut up veggies
D-pizza & salad
Saturday: B-waffles, sausage & berries, oj
L-egg salad sandwiches, cut up veggies
D-beefed up burritos & peas
Sunday: B-eggs, toast & smoothie
L-turkey wraps & cut up veggies
D-penne pasta & mixed veggies